Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

Reviews and occasional notes on classical music

For the past five years or so I've posted reviews of classical music CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays, in various places on the web: Amazon.com, iTunes and other sites. I'll collect those earlier reviews, and add four or five new ones every month.

"Music, both vocall and instrumental, so good, so delectable, so rare, so admirable, so super excellent, that it did even ravish and stupifie all those strangers that never heard the like." - Thomas Coryat, after hearing 3 hours of music at the Scuola di San Rocco in Venice, 1608.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Delightful Ravel

From January 9, 2014:


Leonard Slatkin has been really busy recording for Naxos in the past few years, completing a Rachmaninov series in Detroit, and playing French music with the Orchestre National de Lyon. This is the second disc of Ravel's orchestral music, to go along with music by Berlioz. I found Slatkin a bit cool in the first disc, though I praised the playing of the orchestra and the sound provided by the Naxos engineers. This disc has the latter strengths, with strong playing from the Lyon woodwinds and brass especially, and lifelike sound that perfectly sets off Ravel's Gallic charms. As to the direction of the music, Slatkin is perhaps feeling more at home with the orchestra, or these three works - the Valses nobles et sentiment ales, Gaspard de la nuit in Marius Constant's orchestration, and Le tombeau de Couperin - have captured his interest more than those in the first disc. Or maybe I'm warming to Slatkin's reserved approach. In any case, this music is captivating, and provides a delightful and welcome respite from the daily grind.

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